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I find breeding fish one of the most fun and rewarding parts of having an aquarium. And at some point I wanted to find the fish that breeds the fastest. Low and behold, this is what I found.
What freshwater aquarium fish breeds the fastest? The guppy, or other livebearers reproduce the quickest. Guppies can start reproducing when they are 2 – 3 months old and tend to give birth every 30 days. A batch of fry can range from 20 to 50 babies. There are ways to speed up the breeding.
Breeding fish quickly can be a challenge but extremely rewarding. In the rest of the article you are going to find an introduction to breeding guppy fry, how to care for them and what to do with them.
Optimal Aquarium Conditions
If you want to make sure that your guppies breed as fast as possible, it is important to keep them in pristine water quality. This means that there should be sufficient filtration, the water should be at the right temperature and you should do all the necessary maintenance.
While guppies are not known to be messy, they can produce a lot of waste when there are a lot of them. This means that their poop will add a lot of ammonia to the tank.
Therefore, make sure to run a filter which enough biological filtration. The bacteria in the filter will break down the ammonia.
Also, keep your guppies at the right temperature. Make sure the water stays between 75 to 81 °F (24 to 27 °C).
And finally, make sure you do your regular maintenance like water changes and rinsing the filter to make sure the water quality remains stable and good.
Induce faster breeding
Now that your aquarium is suitable to keep the guppies, it is true that will will start breeding no matter what you do. They are super simple to breed.
There are however a couple of ways you can increase the speed at which they reproduce.
The right food
First of all, make sure to feed your guppies enough food, and make sure the food is of high quality. Not just dried flake food. Instead, try feeding them frozen food like bloodworms or daphnia. Or even live food, for example live daphnia or brine shrimp.
This protein rich food will provide your guppies with all the energy and nutrients they need and I will assure you from experience that they will breed more often and each batch will contain more fry.
More water changes
If you do more water changes, the aquarium water will be cleaner. It will also allow you to feed more often because you will remove all access leftover food from the tank.
When looking to increase the number of waterchanges, make sure to not overdo it. You can actually do water changes too often, if you are curious here is why. Stick with a maximum of 50% of the aquarium volume per day.
However, this might not be worth it, so instead try doing 40% of the water volume twice a week. While everyone does water changes differently, I assume this will be more than your regular maintenance.
Doing this will increase the reproduction rate of your fish.
Taking care of the fry
If you have a densely planted aquarium with a lot of hiding spaces, there will always be some fry that survive. However, the parents tend to eat their babies. In general, endler guppies are less likely to do this.
If you want to grow your guppy population as fast and efficient as possible, this is what you should do. Carefully move a pregnant female fish that is about to give birth to her own little aquarium where she can give birth. When she spawned, move her back to the original aquarium.
Now you have a separate tank with all the fry, without the risk of them being eaten by their parents.
Because fry are way more sensitive compared to their adult parents, it is best you do daily water changes to keep the water quality pristine. Doing this in combination with providing the correct food will make them grow super quick.
For food, there is special fry food on the market. You could get some of this at your local fish store, but I have never done so. Instead, crush some of your regular dried food. This is practically the same as the expensive fry food. It just needs to fit in their tiny mouths.
Furthermore, you could hatch your own baby brine shrimp to feed as live food. Micro-worms are also suitable.
What to do with all the fish
Now of course we all have our reasons why we want to breed as many fish as fast as possible. For me, I just enjoyed seeing the fish grow to adults. In my case, I was stuck with a lot of guppies real soon. So what can you do with all your fish?
First, contact your local fish store and tell them you have guppies. Ask them if they are interested in them, and chances are that they are willing to buy them for your for store credit.
Fish stores rarely pay you cash for fish, most of the times they will give you store credit you can then spend on products in their store. In the past I have sold many full grown endler guppies to my local fish store and they were very happy with them.
Another thing you can do is make fellow aquarium enthusiasts happy by either selling them on online marketplaces like Craigslist or giving them away to starting aquarium keepers via for example a Facebook group.
When you do this, make sure you never promote them as “80 guppies for free” when you want your “buyers” to genuinely care for the fish. Why? Because “80 free guppies” often end up as feeder fish.
Feeder fish are cheap/free small (guppy sized) fish that people feed to their bigger fish like bass/giant gourami/alligator gars and other ‘monster fish’.